Our footy scribe previews the English Premier League matchup between Crystal Palace and Bournemouth taking place on Saturday afternoon.
It may be extremely early in the season, but one would be naive to think that the knives are not being sharpened somewhere. This is perhaps more pertinent for Alan Pardew’s Palace, whose disquieting form from the end of the last campaign has transferred into their opening performances. Both Palace and Bournemouth are yet to register a point and would hate to be cut adrift going into the first international break of the season.
Eddie Howe will no doubt be fairly philosophical and realise that his side could have easily got all three points against West Ham last week. Palace need to placate an increasingly beleaguered crowd, which should necessitate an open, exciting encounter for the early basement dwellers.
Crystal Palace v Bournemouth | Saturday 27 August | Selhurst Park | 16:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Crystal Palace 5/4 | Draw 22/10 | Bournemouth 9/4
The arrival of Christian Benteke from Liverpool could not have come at a better time for the Eagles. It will be curious to see what kind of fallen striker Palace have inherited. Some strikers find it hard to lift themselves from failing at a top side. Just look at Palace’s very own experiment with Emmanuel Adebayor. Benteke just has to remember that Liverpool were almost uniquely designed to not fit his particular skill set. Palace, with players such as Zaha and Townsend in wide areas, seem tailor-made for a man of his particular skill set. Damien Delaney is an injury doubt and will likely be replaced by James Tomkins.
Cabaye and Ledley will likely be in the all-important anchoring roles in the midfield. They will be charged with preventing Wilson and King from bursting into the area unattended. Both sides have athleticism and will look to use the width of the field. Palace will probably feel that they have the edge in pace and will clearly be looking to outflank Bournemouth and feed Benteke. An interesting sub-plot will be the battle between Townsend and Daniels down that right-hand side. If Townsend is able to manoeuvre Daniels infield, look for Palace to potentially exploit that area.
Bournemouth will know that Pardew’s side are desperate for a performance. This should feed perfectly into their stereotypical counter-attacking approach and make for an imminently watchable fixture. Bournemouth will be without the services of suspended Harry Arter following an idiotic sequence of bookings last weekend. Cook and Francis will need to be vigilant against the obvious physical threat posed by Benteke. Look for Daniels to get forward as often as possible, leaving them potentially vulnerable down that right-hand side.
Since his arrival at Bournemouth, one can see exactly why Jordan Ibe is such an exciting prospect for Bournemouth and why Liverpool sold him. His pace and power get him into excellent positions, but his decision-making in the final third is diabolical enough to rival the inaccuracy of City’s Jesus Navas. That being said, Ibe, playing alongside King and Wilson, constitute a formidable attacking trio. They have enough to disrupt a Palace side minus the influential calming presence of Damien Delaney.
Verdict: Both Teams To Score (Yes) (9/10)
Palace will need to adopt a positive approach at home and go for all three points. This should suit a counter-attacking Bournemouth side and make for a captivating fixture for the footballing purists.
Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets